Inside Bell Media’s big Letterkenny marketing push

From pop-up shops to social media promos to its very own beer, the campaign for season three has been hard to miss.
letterkenny season 3

In the few short months between the Christmas Day season two launch of CraveTV original comedy Letterkenny and the season three premiere on Canada Day, it was virtually impossible to miss all the promotion for the show.

There was a Toronto pop-up shop complete with a produce stand and “Hard No” T-shirts, a more traditional social and out-of-home push and even the launch of Puppers, Letterkenny‘s very own beer.

Joe Ottorino, director of consumer marketing, entertainment brands at Bell Media told Playback Daily that the promotion for season three has been divided into two categories: one that targets at the “original hardcore fan” and one aimed at attracting a much broader audience to the show. While he wouldn’t get too specific, Ottorino said Letterkenny is intended for a broad audience that skews toward younger men.

For those fans who’ve been with Letterkenny since its beginning as a web series, Ottorino said Bell Media and the show’s producers, Toronto’s New Metric Media, have focused on delivering experiences that extend past the broadcast. 

Puppers, for example, was a fictional beer the locals drink in the show that the producers wanted to make a reality for fans. The product, created by Sudbury’s Stack Brewing, launched June 29 in LCBO’s across Ontario and will be available for the summer. Ottorino said the product was meant as a “fun temporary spin-off” that would work to build buzz for the series. He added that, from Bell’s point of view, the product’s success will be measured by how much people are talking about it – and not necessarily how well it sells.

Bell Media is supporting the launch of the product in the GTA through an out-of-home (OOH) campaign that’s integrated with the OOH campaign for third season of the series. The series (and beer) are being advertised in restaurants and bars across the region through digital and video promos.

“One of the advantages we have with Letterkenny is the release is centred around a holiday, so there’s a lot of people out and in bars, which is great timing for us,” added Matthew Cowling, associate director of marketing, CraveTV and Comedy at Bell Media.

The pop-up shop, too, was centred around a festive event: St. Patrick’s Day, when a “St. Perfect’s Day” special Letterkenny episode was released on CraveTV. That event, hosted at a shop on Queen St. W in Toronto, featured merchandise with Letterkenny catch phrases and rebuilt set pieces for fans to take photos in and share on social. While Bell Media did not have figures on attendance or sales, the company said the social engagement and “constant lineups” made for a successful event.

Social has also been an integral tool for the campaign, said Cowling, saying the cold open promo video that Bell Media released across social on June 1 acts as a “signal for fans to get ready” for the next season.

The promo, launched on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, has more than 475,000 views on YouTube views across the social platforms. The season one cold open – a teaser video featuring characters Wayne and Daryl – published in December 2015, has more than 3.8 million views on YouTube, while season two’s has just over one million.

“We know that the show grew from social digital shorts and we like to put the fan first and try to reach them through those social channels,” said Cowling.

To reach a wider audience than the “hardcore” fans, Ottorino said Bell Media has also promoted the series through a more traditional linear campaign across Bell Media’s portfolio of channels, as well as radio spots and digital OOH throughout Toronto.

While Cowling wouldn’t provide specifics, he added that Bell SVOD CraveTV sees a bump in subscribers around new season launches.